Frequently Asked Questions
- I keep my cat inside at night, isn’t that enough?
- If my cat wears a collar with a bell does it still need to be contained?
- Is it cruel to keep my cat indoors all of the time?
- How would cat containment help protect domestic cats?
- What would change for cat owners?
If your question isn’t here, feel free to ask us at [email protected]
www.tams.act.gov.au – The Territory and Municipal Services (ACT Government) website includes information on keeping a cat or dog in the ACT and associated information
www.environment.act.gov.au – The Environment and Planning Directorate (ACT Government) website includes information about the community’s views on cat containment and lists the threatened species in ACT
www.rspca-act.org.au – The RSPCA ACT has information on adopting a pet and responsible pet ownership
Cat enclosures and runs
Contact details for commercial suppliers of cat enclosures can be found through an internet search. For a place to start in Canberra you might try:
Alternatively, for guidance on how to build your own cat proof fencing or cat yard you can download the Victoria Government’s How to build cat proof fencing and cat enclosures booklet (539 KB)
A Background Paper: Responsible Pet Ownership and Protection of Wildlife collates data from local studies and research into the impacts of cat predation on Canberra’s wildlife. This study highlights the issues of domestic roaming cats in Canberra and has an extensive bibliography for more useful papers and studies.
Read our open letter to Minister Rattenbury about the need for Canberra-wide cat containment (PDF 155KB).
The RSPCA has called for an extension of “cat curfew” areas.
I keep my cat inside at night, isn’t that enough?
Cats are opportunistic hunters and will catch and eat wildlife day and night. A study into domestic cat predation in Canberra showed that cats actively hunt during the day. Birds were caught in the early morning and reptiles in the afternoon. Most of Canberra’s threatened birds, lizards and insects are day active and susceptible to cat predation.
Aside from hunting and chasing, cats are also a threat to native wildlife through the dissemination of diseases and parasites. Cats are the only definitive host for the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which causes Toxoplasmosis, a condition recorded in several species of native animals.
Cats which are contained day and night live longer and are 4 times less likely to be injured from cars or fights. Importantly, cat containment also benefits the community with less nuisance from roaming cats.
If my cat wears a collar with a bell does it still need to be contained?
Yes- roaming cats have a negative impact on native wildlife regardless of whether the prey is caught or simply chased. Not to mention many cats have learnt how to chase and pounce without the bell making a noise. Cats can also transmit diseases and parasites to native animals, such as Toxoplasmosis.
Cat containment is also beneficial for pet cats- confined cats have a reduced incidence of abscesses from cat fights, fewer injuries from cars and dogs and have less opportunity to pick up diseases from stray and feral cats. Confined cats can generally cost a significant amount less in veterinary expenses as they are protected from a large number of external threats to their health.
Is it cruel to keep my cat indoors all of the time?
Cats can be happily kept as indoor cats, especially when they have been trained to be an indoor cat from a young age. It is important to make sure your cat gets exercise and stimulation through play, access to vertical and horizontal climbing spaces, a scratching post and a sunny spot to bask in. In colder or traffic busy parts of the world, such as European and American cities, nearly all cats are kept happily indoors at all times. The RSPCA have great advice on how to keep your cat happily indoors.
Cats that are contained to the owner’s property do not have to live totally indoors – access to the outdoors is highly recommended as this greatly increases the opportunity for activity for contained cats. Options for providing access to the outdoors can be as simple as walking your cat on a harness or leash or providing access to an outdoor escape-proof cat enclosure. Access to the outdoors is particularly recommended for older cats which have been allowed roam and are used to exploring the outdoors.
How would cat containment help protect domestic cats?
Contained cats not only get into fewer fights and are less likely to be lost or get involved in road trauma but they will also not get caught up in programs to manage feral cats.
More rigorous feral cat management will inevitably impact on uncontained domestic cats and some options might involve humane but lethal treatments for feral cats. We do not want domestic contained cats to be caught in feral cat programs and Canberra-wide cat containment reduces this likelihood.
What would change for cat owners?
Declaration of all of Canberra cat containment by 2025 would help protect the environment and would be equitable across all suburbs.
The long lead time allows cat owners to prepare for the future and also allows for cats obtained in the coming years to be trained for containment. It also allows for development of support mechanisms for residents who might not be able to afford it.